CHENNAI: The Madras High Court today refused to entertain a plea, seeking a second post-mortem of the five bodies that were found in a tank in Andhra Pradesh.
A bench headed by Justice C T Selvam declined to hear the plea filed by P Pugalenthi, a lawyer who heads a rights forum, and suggested that he approach the Andhra Pradesh High Court since the incident occurred in that state.
The bodies of the five men, suspected to be woodcutters from Salem district, were found floating in a decomposed state in an irrigation tank at Vontimitta village, about 120 km from Tirupati, on February 18.
Alleging that the post-mortem of the bodies was carried out hurriedly at the instance of the Andhra police, Pugalenthi contended before the court that there was no possibility of all the five drowning in the tank, considering its depth.
It would be in the interest of justice that a second autopsy by an independent team of doctors from Tamil Nadu was ordered, he added.
Pugalenthi said he visited the village yesterday on hearing about the death of the five and spoke to several locals to find out if there was any possibility of a foul play in the deaths.
He added that he made the enquiries in view of a 2015 incident, in which 20 labourers, accused of illegally felling red sander trees, were killed in an alleged encounter by the Andhra Pradesh police.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami had yesterday condoled the death of the five persons and announced a relief of Rs 3 lakh each to their families.
He had also said that the state police was directed to conduct a probe to ascertain the circumstances that led to the death of the five men.